The Great Cornish Food Store offers fantastic quality at no great cost to your pocket or the environment – at Christmas, and at all times

All photographs by Kate Whitaker 

If you’ve been listening to the COP26 conference from Glasgow, you might be wondering how you can approach Christmas from an environmentally friendly direction. The Great Cornish Food Store is keen to help, offering the finest, freshest produce at reasonable prices, as well as expert service and handy tips from its team of butchers, fishmongers, chefs and personal shoppers. 

“Buying local can make an impact, as it reduces the need for distribution as well as being good for Cornwall’s economy – you’ll be supporting all our independent suppliers, for many of whom the pandemic has been harsh,” says business owner Ruth Huxley. 

Whether you’re seeking a succulent joint as the focal point of a feast or something ready-made that you can slam in the oven, both are available here, with a trail from plough to plate. Launceston-based farmer and master butcher Philip Warren and his son, Ian, supply beef to around 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, from the crème de la crème of the Cornwall food scene to top London names. Pork and lamb come from by JV Richards of Perranwell, just five miles away, bacon and gammons from the Cornish Farmhouse Bacon Company of Bude. Turkey and geese come from Treway Farm, near Grampound, a family farm rearing free range birds to the ‘Golden Turkey’ standard.  

Fish and seafood are sourced daily from Newlyn, Looe and St Ives; crab meat is handpicked fresh, and whole cooked crab and lobsters can be ordered when available. As the store only stocks fresh and never frozen, there will be no fish counter between December 20 and January 4, when the markets close down. 

Alternatively, in-store chefs led by Nick Tinney have cooked up a range of celebration food, side dishes and nibbles to rival any high-street supermarket, with the added bonus that they use top-quality local produce. Set price packages are available for any occasion, from intimate Christmas parties to full-on office get-togethers. 

“People are getting together for the first time in a long while, and want to make the most of the occasion,” says Ruth. “We’d like to think they can do that without spending a lot of time slaving away in the kitchen, by buying beautiful ready-made food from us. We do it all, it comes to you in a box and all you have to do is put it on a plate. We’ve taken the sweat out of it but not the quality of the end product.” 

There are no significant supply issues expected, but as with every Christmas, early pre-ordering (deadline: December 10) is recommended for peace of mind, especially if you have specific needs.  

This year, online shopping has been paused for Christmas, enabling staff to focus on the shop at its busiest time. This is a good thing, according to Ruth. “Shopping isn’t dead. Go to a real place. Give yourself a buzz. Talk to a real person. Know what you’re getting: see it, smell it, taste it. Get some advice from someone who knows it inside out. It’s the next best thing to talking to the producers – we have a close relationship with them and have worked with them for years.” 

That goes for more than 200 producers, who between them have supplied an impressive 2,000 lines. “We have regular conversations with them and try every product ourselves before stocking anything,” says Ruth. Most of the food on sale in the deli is made daily in the kitchen, from pates, salads and dips to meals and accompaniments, and Cornish scones of course. 

Warm your cockles with some mulled cider

The beautiful photography on the website has been shot to reflect how food might look in your home kitchen – think rustic and informal rather than primped and pimped, and more achievable. “It’s the reality,” says Ruth.  

Customers are typically people who are interested in Cornwall and Cornish food, and Ruth is keen to broaden the store’s appeal to all generations, especially younger people who may never have had the chance to buy local so conveniently. 

She is also keen to signpost corporate gifts – treat your staff to something nice in a classy black gift box. “A bit of food and drink never goes amiss.”  

And there’s more than food here – you can also find a wide range of Cornish homewares, books and cards. “You can do all your Christmas shopping here,” says Ruth. “I know – I do.” 

The Great Cornish Food Store, Tregurra Park, Newquay Road, Truro TR1 1RH.  Tel 01872 306060, https://greatcornishfood.co.uk/